Tuesday, 4 October 2011

The Great British Bake Off - episode 5 - Pies

I like pies so I was really looking forward to this episode.  Actually, so far I have really been looking forward to all the episodes.  What can I say, I love cakes, biscuits, tarts, pies, puddings, breads and anything else of a fattening nature.

So many pies, so many choices - Holly made Three Cheese, Potato and Caramelised Onion Pie,  Rob made Chicken and Mushroom, Yasmin a Family Fish Pie, Jo also made fish pie, a yummy sounding Salmon and Asparagus, Mary-Anne - Chicken and Bacon, Janet - Chicken and Chestnut, Jason - Brown Down Chicken Pie, all with either flaky or puff pastry.  The required element/ technical challenge was to make Paul Hollywood's miniature pork pie with a quails egg in the centre.  Six of them.  I made a hand raised hot water crust pastry pork pie at school.  It was notable for being a success.   The showstopper was to make a sweet meringue pie using either the French or Italian method. 

Sadly Jason and Rob were eliminated this time.  Jason, who was so sweet and enjoying the experience so much, but  was only nineteen and as Mary Berry said he just lacked the skill and the background.  Rob's charm failed him on this occasion. His showstopper failed miserably, it sort of fell apart because he got his timings wrong again and unfortunately he had used up all his chances with Paul Hollywood.  Paul said he loved their passion for baking and there was a lack of youth in his industry at the moment so when Jason said it was what he wanted to do he was keen to encourage him.

So, to pies.  Again I was limited to those recipes printed on the website so because it looked so nice, was different, I loved all the ingredients and she  used flaky pastry I decided to make Holly's Three Cheese, Potato and Caramelised Onion Pie.

This decision was made a couple of weeks ago but I hit a problem.  The pie fed eight.  I am just me.  So in my usual generous way I invited friends round to eat said pie. Unfortunately they couldn't make it so I made the offer elsewhere.  Unfortunately they couldn't make it either.  I seem to have chosen the busiest two weeks in September as no-one could could come round for pie.

I was now quite behind with my Great British Bake Off challenge.  At this point I really should have looked at my options such as halving the quantity at least, or looking at making another pie which I knew would freeze well (wasn't sure this would).  Instead I developed an obsession.  I would make this pie and I would make it as per the recipe.  What I would do with a pie that big I wasn't going to think about because it was very important I make that pie.  

And make it I did.

And here is where I really should leave it at that and go  on to the next overdue episode.  Pie made, onto dessert.

But I'm not going to.  Dear reader I am going to tell the sad and sorry tale of my pie. 

I made the pastry.  I haven't made flaky pastry  for quite some while as you can now buy quite good ready made pastry in the supermarket.  I had forgotten how much I like making it.  So that went well.  I made up all the different bowls of ingredients for the filling.  A bit fiddly but it went well.  So then I started the layering.  ' Step 11 Layer one quarter of the potatoes, a third of the onions and a third of ...'.  Onions?  Onions? What onions?  I had  completely by passed step 7 - lightly caramelise the onions.  Sigh. Off I went to the cooker to caramelise my onions. Lightly.  And resume layering. I was just about to put the final layer of potatoes on when I glanced round and saw - the remaining two thirds of the caramelised onions.  Softly glistening with butter and still in the saucepan on the cooker. Sigh.  I couldn't bring myself to unlayer so I just dolloped them on top, covered them with the last of the potato and put the pastry on top.  And put it in the oven for 30 minutes at 220 and then for one hour at 180 or until golden brown.

This is Holly's pie going in

and coming out after presumably one and half hours cooking


this is my pie going in

it has character!

and coming out after just an hour in the oven

(yes I remembered to turn it down, I think I should have checked on it sooner - I don't have a glass door in my oven - that's one of my excuses)

I know I was going to embrace the quirkiness of my cooking - but really, with this, I think not.   Just as well nobody took me up on the offer of pie.

So, next episode is desserts.  I like desserts.

I am also having computer issues - again.  It took me an hour and forty-five minutes to load these photos.  It took me thirty-five minutes to get into my blog.  I keep losing Internet access mid sentence.  It is a little frustrating not to mention slow.  Hopefully I will post desserts tomorrow (especially as it's the final Bake Off tonight and I still have Patisserie to do before I post that).

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